Free Agency is amongst us and with so many big names already finding new homes for the 2021 season and beyond, the question of here Deshaun Watson’s future lies is once again the main focus of NFL fans and media alike. Watson requested a trade from the Houston Texans after reports emerged of Watson being frustrated with the teams front office and ownership, this apparently originates from the trade last offseason of Watson’s primary receiver and friend, DeAndre Hopkins, and was only made worse when former Head Coach and GM, Bill O’Brien was dismissed just seven months later. After the Texans went from a playoff team in 2019 to a 4-12 mess in 2020, Deshaun Watson said that Texans needed “a whole culture shift” but his frustration further grew when he wasn’t consulted during the Texans search and hire of a new GM, and was then ignored during the Texans search for a new HC, Deshaun had made it known that his preference was Kansas City Chiefs OC, Eric Bieniemy, who was seen as a lock to land his first NFL Head Coaching position this offseason but was once again overlooked as the Texans hired David Culley, previously the passing game coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who possessed one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL. Whilst it may seem somewhat diva like for Watson to demand a trade after not having a say in what ultimately is a decision made by ownership it is worth noting that owner, Cal McNair had promised to make Deshaun a part of the hiring process and it isn’t an unusual practice for a franchise QB to be involved in the hiring of a new Head Coach or even a new General Manager.

There have been reports linking almost every QB needy team to a trade for Watson, Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets both have the draft capital to to take a run at him but Miami look like they’re willing to see what they have in #5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa, and whilst the Jets QB situation isn’t great with 2018 #3 pick Sam Darnold looking more and more like a bust every season, they do own the #2 pick in the 2021 draft and seem set to build a team around a rookie QB’s cheap salary. New England, San Francisco, Chicago and the Vegas Raiders have all been touted as potential suitors but I see each of those sides as real outside candidates. Currently the Denver Broncos are favourites to be the team Deshaun Watson suits up for in week 1 of the 2021 season and there’s a reported mutual interest there, but I wonder if the Texans would even consider trading arguably a top 5 QB within the AFC conference when there will be multiple options for them to send him over to the NFC and mostly out of sight and out of mind. There’s also the question of Denver’s incumbent QB, Drew Lock who the Broncos took in the second round of the 2019 draft and was impressive during the tail end of his rookie campaign, now his play wasn’t overly impressive during the 2020 season just gone, but with the year three emergence of the big bodied, strong armed and previously erratic Josh Allen for the Buffalo Bills this season just gone you have to wonder if the Broncos will want to give their own big bodied, strong armed and erratic QB the benefit of the doubt and a shot at his own year three emergence. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Watson wouldn’t be a huge upgrade over what we have witnessed from Drew Lock but when you start to factor in the cost of not only acquiring Deshaun Watson but also paying him you have to wonder if they’ll take their chances on the third year progression of a guy that John Elway was reportedly enamoured with during the 2019 draft process.

That’s 8 NFL teams I don’t think Deshaun Watson plays QB for in 2021 nor do I see him lining up under centre again for the Houston Texans… So, where do I think Watson lands..?

The Carolina Panthers. Not only do I think this is one of the best fits for Watson from a football perspective but they also have the draft capital (#8 & #40 overall draft picks in 2021 for a start) as well as some nice pieces that could be used as sweeteners to get any potential deal over the line. Carolina have reportedly made acquiring Deshaun Watson their #1 priority and he is apparently option A, B & C at the QB position for the Panthers heading into the 2021 season. Deshaun Watson played his college football in Carolina for Clemson, leading them to a National Championship Title in 2016,so he’s already loved by the majority of the state and I can only imagine a return to Carolina would be high on his wish list and that’s without taking into consideration the opportunity to work with OC Joe Brady and pass catchers like Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore & Robby Anderson. Houston will be able to trade Watson out of the conference and acquire close to a Kings ransom whilst the Panthers will have the luxury of not being criticised by their fanbase for maybe overpaying a little to bring home a state legend and automatically becoming contenders in a division filled with ageing QB’s and question marks.

Watson to Carolina. It just makes sense.

BEST BET: Deshaun Watson – 2021 Week 1 team – Carolina Panthers @ 2/1 with SKYBET. 1 POINT BET.

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